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Blick auf München, Bild: Vlada Photo / shutterstock

A village of millions and a cosmopolitan city with a heart – Munich likes you!

Cosmopolitan metropolis with flair, European city of culture, young, traditional, modern and dynamic – this applies to many German cities. And yet Munich is different – unmistakable: Here you can climb over the stadium roof of the Olympic Park, shop on Maximilian’s Street, relax in the English Garden, visit the castle of the fairytale king or enjoy his beer at the largest folk festival in the world. Munich is always both: provincial as well as big city with nouvelle cuisine or white sausage, truffles or roast pork, Bloody Mary or beer. It’s easy to like this city. Once you’ve experienced the sunset in Munich’s beer gardens, you won’t want to leave.

It started with a bang – a bit of a story

Munich, Victory Gate
The Victory Gate, Image: LaMiaFotografia / shutterstock

In the 6th century AD, the Bavarians founded several settlements on the Isar – still recognizable today by the ending “ing” – such as Schwabing, Aubing, Pasing or Sendling. For the 10./11. In the nineteenth century, the settlement on the Isar is attested by Tegernsee monks. This settlement, which later gave the place its nascent name, was called “Apud Munichen” (by the monks).

The rowdy Guelph Duke Henry the Lion is considered the founder in 1158. Without further ado, he destroyed the bridge of the Augsburg-Salzburg salt road, moved the old salt road here and led it over a lucrative customs bridge.

In 1255, the Wittelsbachs took up residence there. They stayed until 1918. In the Middle Ages, the cloth, salt and wine trade brought the city steady growth and rapid prosperity. The actual creator of the newer Munich is King Ludwig I (r. 1825-1848), who made it a city of art of European rank and the center of German intellectual life.

In the 1920s, King Ludwig I formulated a decisive sentence about Munich: “I want to make Munich a city that should do honor to Germany in such a way that no one knows Germany who has not seen Munich.” He soon put this resolution into practice.

Bavarian kings made Munich the capital of Bavaria. At the turn of the 20th century, the metropolis on the Isar was considered a Europe-wide centre of the arts. Munich has enjoyed a worldwide reputation as a sports city since the 1972 Olympics.

There is a lot to see here and perhaps even more to experience – namely the magic of an old, young-at-heart city that is cosmopolitan and yet completely itself.

Munich – more than just Isar-Athens

Munich, Marienplatz
Marienplatz, Image: gnoparus / shutterstock

Once the magnificent capital and residence of the Wittelsbachs and under King Ludwig I. An attraction for well-known artists, the settlement, originally founded by monks, has blossomed into a cosmopolitan city with a characteristic way of life.

By the way, without you noticing much of it, the “cosmopolitan city with a heart” is Germany’s second largest industrial city.

Munich was not only the most important centre for the painters of Art Nouveau, even today the cultural treasures from centuries shine far beyond the Bavarian borders. During a leisurely tour through the lively pedestrian zone and the adjacent streets of the old town, the most important sights of the city can be reached on foot. If you stroll through Munich today, you will drift across Marienplatz, through Theatinerstraße, over the Viktualienmarkt with the oldest parish church in the city and possibly find a place in the legendary Hofbräuhaus. He makes a stop in one of the many beer gardens and enjoys the hustle and bustle in the streets of the city, which is richer in sights than any other city in Germany.

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Culture under a white-blue sky

Munich, Oktoberfest
The Oktoberfest, Image: Takashi Images / shutterstock

The centre of the old town is the three-aisled Frauenkirche from the 15th century. From the south tower, the view sweeps over the New Town Hall on Marienplatz and the old town. In the town hall tower, which towers over the magnificent façade facing Marienplatz at 85 metres, the carillon with Schäfflertanz sounds every day. On Shrove Tuesday, on the other hand, the market women dance at the nearby Viktualienmarkt. Of course, there is always a rich selection of fresh specialties. In the north of the old town is the residence of the Wittelsbachs. Within its walls are the living quarters of King Ludwig I and one of the most valuable European collections of handicraft treasures. Visitors will experience another cultural highlight in the neighbouring National Theatre. The classicist building is considered Munich’s temple of the muses.

There is a particular crowd in Munich at Wies ́n time and at trade fairs. More than 50 museums and around sixty theatres, including the Alte and Neue Pinakothek, offer educational, cultural, diversionary and entertainment events.

Whether hated, starred and wooden spoon-armed or bourgeois-down-to-earth, everyone will find something to their liking in the culinary area.

Classy, multicultural and idyllic village – sought-after districts in Munich

Munich, English Garden
English Garden, Image: Matej Kastelic / shutterstock

At the beginning of the 18th century, immigrants without property and business were allowed to work in Munich. However, they lived at the gates of the city, on the right bank of the Isar and in a confined space. The districts, which were discredited in the past, now enjoy a high reputation as modern, chic cultural, residential and trendy districts.

Munich’s noble district of Bogenhausen emerged from the ancient village of Pubenhausen. The rococo village church conveys a rustic village atmosphere. Today, Haidhausen is Munich’s multiculture. Craftsmen, day labourers and beggars lived in the former “broken glass quarter”. Today, the hostels of the trendy district entice you with delicious coffee in the alternative flair of the eighties. The Au also developed from a hostel district to a workers’ town. The charming “village” in the middle of the city captivates with the beautiful Mariahilfkirche, built between 1831-39.

Tip: A picturesque footpath and cycle path along the Isar connects the three districts.

Schwabing – an attitude to life

Even though the artists have long since withdrawn, Schwabing still draws on its reputation as an artists’ district. Among the most creative minds of the time were Thomas Mann, Rainer Maria Rilke, Ringelnatz and Bertolt Brecht. Many visitors flock to this legendary district to catch some of the flair that once made Schwabing the “most beautiful daughter” of Munich.

The motto of Schwabing today: “See and be seen”.

Quality of life under chestnut trees and a fairytale castle

Twelve firecrackers and the tapping of the first barrel of Wies’n beer open the festival, which attracts guests from all over the world to the Theresienwiese every year. What began as a wedding celebration over 190 years ago has now become a Mecca for all those who want to have a good time for days. For two weeks in September, Munich is in a cheerful state of emergency.

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On the west side of the Theresienwiese is the bronze cast Bavaria, which is framed by the Hall of Fame.

Also northwest of the city centre is the extensive Nymphenburg Palace Park with its Baroque palace (1664-1728), water features and a magnificent landscaped park. The “Castello delle Ninfe”: A small pavilion developed into a baroque complex, which the Bavarian rulers used as a summer residence and in which King Ludwig II saw the light of day in 1845.

Well-known, important and curious

Munich’s museum landscape is colorful and diverse. There is something for everyone. It would take too long to list all the museums. The most important ones are mentioned:

  • Alte Pinakothek – one of the most important picture galleries in the world.
  • Neue Pinakothek – shows European painting and sculpture from the late 18th to the early 20th century in 22 halls.
  • Glyptothek – Munich’s oldest museum on Königsplatz.
  • House of Art – a building from 1937 with contemporary art.
  • Bavarian National Museum – European sculptures and German arts and crafts can be admired.
  • Valentin Museum – it shows the life and work as well as curious creations of the folk singer Karl Valentin.
  • Deutsches Museum – the largest technical and scientific museum in the world.

Mustsee – all important squares and streets at a glance:

  • Munich, Viktualienmarkt
    Viktualienmarkt, Image: Vlada Photo / shutterstock

    Marienplatz – Stachus

  • Odeonsplatz – Hofgarten – Residenz
  • Königsplatz – Karolinenplatz
  • Prinzregentenstraße
  • Ludwigstraße – University – English Garden
  • Maximilianstraße – Lehel
  • Munich North – Olympia Park

Facts about Munich

  1. Companies in various industries, including technology, finance, biotechnology, and automotive.
  2. Beer and Oktoberfest: Munich is known worldwide for its beer tradition and the Oktoberfest, which takes place every year in September and attracts more than six million visitors.
  3. Sights: Munich has many historical and cultural attractions, including Nymphenburg Palace, Marienplatz, Frauenkirche, and the Deutsches Museum.
  4. Sports: Munich is also an important location for sports. FC Bayern Munich, one of the most successful football clubs in the world, has its headquarters here. The city also hosted the 1972 Summer Olympics.
  5. Transportation: Munich has a well-developed public transport network that includes U-Bahn, S-Bahn, tram and buses. Munich Airport is one of the busiest airports in Germany.
  6. Quality of life: Munich is known for its high quality of life and is often referred to as one of the most livable cities in the world. It offers a mixture of historic architecture, green parks, cultural offerings and a dynamic economy.

Well-known museums in Munich

  1. Pinakothek der Moderne: The museum shows modern and contemporary art, design and architecture.
  2. Alte Pinakothek: Here you will find one of the largest collections of European art from the 14th to the 18th century.
  3. Neue Pinakothek: The museum houses an extensive collection of paintings and sculptures from the late 18th to the early 20th century.
  4. Lenbachhaus: The museum shows art by the Blue Rider and the Munich Secession.
  5. Deutsches Museum: The museum is the largest technical museum in the world and offers interactive exhibitions on various areas of science and technology.
  6. Museum Brandhorst: The museum specializes in modern and contemporary art and houses one of the most important collections of Andy Warhol in Europe.
  7. Glyptothek: The museum displays ancient Greek and Roman sculptures.
  8. State Museum of Egyptian Art: The museum houses one of the largest collections of Egyptian art in Europe.